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Union Pacific Railroad employees achieved a 1.01 reportable safety incident rate in the first half, matching the best-ever rate achieved in first-half 2011, the Class I announced yesterday.The injury rate is calculated using the number of injuries per 200,000 manhours, which is equivalent to the number of hours worked by 100 full-time employees in a year."The safety of our employees, customers and communities is our No. 1 priority, and each day Union Pacific employees embrace a safety mindset to keep themselves and others safe," said UP Vice President of Safety, Security and Environment Bob Grimaila in a press release, adding that the Class I continues to work toward a commitment to zero injuries.Bolstering crude-by-rail safety is part of that commitment, including proper emergency response techniques. During two three-day courses held earlier this month at the Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) in Pueblo, Colo., UP conducted training for 80 emergency response personnel from Arkansas, Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.The training focused on sharpening the responders' skills to better prepare them for any crude-by-rail incidents that might occur in or near their respective communities. The training covered a variety of safety subjects, including identification of tank-car types that transport crude, tank-car fittings and construction, chemical and physical properties of the different types of crude, and response precautions.Hands-on exercises focused on assessing tank-car damage, ensuring on-site repairs, controlling oil releases from damaged cars and fire suppression techniques. Class members also participated in a simulated oil fire, which helped them understand how to work with railroad personnel in an emergency and how to work safely on railroad property.UP also plans to conduct four additional crude emergency response courses in August, one in November and one in December at TTCI. The Class I annually trains about 2,500 local, state and federal first responders. Since 2003, the railroad has trained nearly 38,000 public responders and 7,500 private responders, such as shippers and contractors.